forests

How guard posts play a crucial role in orangutan conservation

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At the Orangutan Foundation, two main areas of orangutan forest habitat where we work are Tanjung Puting National Park and the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in Indonesian Borneo. Together they cover over half a million acres of forest- almost twice the size of Hong Kong. It’s therefore essential that the Foundation’s guard post teams are skilled and well trained to monitor the forest and waterways within this vast area.

During regular patrols, the team record wildlife sightings like these recent images from Tanjung Puting National Park.

Habitat loss is the largest threat to orangutan populations today; for example, it is predicted that by 2080, between 70-80% of prime orangutan habitat will be lost in Borneo alone if current trends continue. The role of guard posts as a deterrent therefore is vital to ensure intruders do not encroach or enter these parks illegally, damaging or degrading the environment which is essential for orangutans and other wildlife.

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Fire fighting is another important role in the field that make these outpost sites so vital. Each one is prepared with fire fighting equipment, and the Foundation works closely with training and supporting the team to be vigilant in spotting forest fires and then safely extinguishing them with as little damage to the habitat as possible. These fires are a potential threat year on year, in 2015 for example an area the size of Wales was lost to forest fires alone in Indonesia, so to have our team patrolling these sites is of paramount importance to orangutan protection and the surrounding area.

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We are incredibly grateful to have such a skilled and hardworking team here at the Orangutan Foundation, but they still require support. Find out how you can help from as little as £2.

Celebrating new life whilst battling to save orangutan habitat

This week, our Monday motivation was this incredible footage of orangutan Max with her infant Monti, sent by our staff who are as excited about this new addition as we are. However, the next day, we heard from our Patrol Manager, Jakir, that fires were once again raging close to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Indonesian Borneo. One moment we are celebrating new life, the next we are battling to save the habitat.

Thankfully the wildlife reserve is 158,000 acres in size and the fires are well away from the orangutan release camps.  Our 8 manned guard posts, around the reserve, means our patrol staff can respond quickly to keep the reserve safe and prevent the fires from spreading.

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Habitat protection is our priority.  Please donate to our appeal to help us keep forests standing and orangutans in the wild.

An Orangutan Foundation snapshot - 2017

Here is a snapshot of the Orangutan Foundation’s year in the field, thanks to our dedicated Indonesian staff. Most importantly, thank you for your ongoing support. We truly could not do, what we do, without you. January: Miners evicted from the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve and mining equipment confiscated.

February: Attempts to restore sight to blind orangutan Aan sadly fail but her story galvanises support for her cause. We continue to care for Aan to ensure she has the best quality of life possible.

March: Infant orphans, Mona (top) and Nyunyu (below), are rescued and enter our Soft Release Programme, bringing it to 10 young orangutans being cared for.

April: Orangutan Foundation, active on Earth Day, involving young Indonesian’s in cleaning up rubbish in their local environment.

May: Publication of our new photo book promotes the wonders of the orangutan’s world and raises vital funds for forest restoration.

The Orangutan's World - available for purchase

June: A new orangutan birth in Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Venty shows off her new baby, Volvo.

 

 July: Another birth!  Dedek gives birth to a healthy baby, named Dublin.  Orangutans Jessica and Ketty, are released back to the wild!

 

August: Orangutan Foundation staff help tackle fires and stop them spreading to the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

September: Orangutan Foundation Patrols in Tanjung Puting National Park remove and destroy illegal fishing traps, which also pose a threat to other wildlife species.

October: Bangkal, an ex-captive rehabilitated orangutan, reminds all who is King of Lamandau!

November: 22,000 tree saplings planted out in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve in 2017

December: A wild female orangutan is rescued from a beach resort and translocated to the safety of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

And to finish off our year here's Adib, the latest orphan orangutan to join us in November, making his first climb at Camp JL, in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

DONATE to support our work

Why Orangutan Foundation needs your support, more than ever.

If you are a member or supporter you will already know that our priority is protecting orangutan habitat. If we keep forests standing we can ensure orangutans stay in the wild (see video below of wild male). In the past few months our committed Indonesian staff, working on the front-line of conservation, have successfully:

  • Detected and prevented illegal activities within two protected areas, home to thousands of Bornean orangutans and many other critically endangered or threatened species.

  • Prevented the spread of fires to the Lamandau Wildllife Reserve, home to an estimated 500 Bornean orangutans.

  • Nurtured tens of thousands of tree saplings and planted in degraded forest areas of Tanjung Puting National Park and the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve.

  • Trained our staff and community to prepare for and tackle fires

  • Engaged with the Indonesian government and companies to implement best forest management in unprotected orangutan habitat.

We do all this so that wild orangutans, like the one below, stay wild.

We need your help to continue doing this. If you haven’t already, please consider setting up a regular donation click here to support our vital work. Please also help by sharing this blog post.

Thank you,

From Orangutan Foundation - A future for orangutans, forests and people.

Orangutan Foundation on alert for forest fires

Orangutan Foundation have been tackling fires only a few kilometres from the boundary of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, home to some 500 critically endangered Bornean orangutans and many other threatened species. Our committed team of Indonesian staff are working with the Indonesian Wildlife Department and the local community to extinguish the fires.

The threat of forest fires is returning as the dry season in Central Kalimantan continues and 2017 looks set to be one of the hottest years on record.

We are prepared and are on alert to ensure these fires do not spread. All of our guard posts store fire fighting equipment and we have supported fire fighting training.

We have witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by fires. During October 2015, fires in Tanjung Puting National Park and the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve burnt through thousands of acres of forests. The clip below, with Indonesian text, highlights the problem.

 

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Forest and land fires can be prevented if all parties support and commit to not burning the forest and land for any purpose.

Support our vital work to ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people.

DONATE NOW

 

Vote for orangutans

We are delighted that today's blog post is by Julia Cissewski founder of the German charity Orangutans in peril.   Please take a few seconds to vote for Julia and help win €30,000 for orangutans. On 14 July, I visited the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve, Central Kalimantan. Our German charity Orang-Utans in Not e.V. (Orangutans in peril, www.orang-utans-in-not.org/en/) has been supporting the Orangutan Foundation's enrichment planting and forest restoration there for several years.

After a week of intermittent rain, we enjoyed a beautiful sunny morning and first travelled by boat from the town of Pangkalan Bun to Camp Rasak in the Reserve.

There we visited the enrichment planting area. I last went there in 2012 and now was delighted to see the progress that has been made. The little fruit trees will later serve to feed orangutans in the area.

Afterwards we went by boat to Camp Gemini to watch the feeding of released orangutans. The weather kept and it got rather hot. We thus were glad to reach the cover of the release site. At the feeding station we observed several females with their babies, a moving experience. The babies were born in the wild and show the success of the release programme.

On our way back to Pangkalan Bun we saw several Proboscis monkeys, watching us rather unimpressed from the trees on the river bank. We arrived in Pangkalan Bun when the sun was setting. It was a wonderful day and we gave our thanks to Pak Ade, the program manager, and the other Orangutan Foundation staff. They are doing such great work in Lamandau and we are very much looking forward to our future cooperation.

I suppose I should mention that I was accompanied by a film crew who were filming for the German magazine "Bild der Frau". This magazine each year awards prizes to five women running German charities. And in 2017 I am one of them. You can help us gain an additional award of 30,000€ (!) for the orangutans. This award is given to the organization that can raise most votes by October 21, 2017. Every vote counts: https://www.orang-utans-in-not.org/en/goldene-bild-der-frau Thank you very much for your support!

Julia

Research and the Rainforest

Research and the Rainforest To mark #RainforestLive2017, we explore the reasons why rainforest research is so critical to our operations in Indonesian Borneo. We share recent research on individual species, and an overview on other more general research which is ongoing.

Research provides the basis for making key decisions on the conservation of rainforests. Since 2005 the Orangutan Foundation has managed a tropical forest research station, situated on the Sekonyer river inside Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo. Known as Pondok Ambung, it is used by international researchers, Indonesian students and university groups for wildlife and forest research.

 

Recently the field staff stationed at Pondok Ambung have been carrying out research on tarsiers, a species of primate, and false gharials (T. Schelegelii), a species of crocodile. These two species are found within Tanjung Puting National Park and both are threatened with the risk of extinction in the wild. Little is known about either species. It is important to learn more about their behaviour to learn how best to protect them.

You can learn more about our tarsier research here.

Field staff have been monitoring false gharial activity on the Sekonyer River, in Tanjung Puting National Park. Four have been caught and tagged in areas close by to Pondok Ambung, so that staff can monitor their behaviour long-term.

We also received exciting reports of the presence a very large false gharial in the area judging by the size of its footprint (twice the length of a pen!).

However, staff did not come across the creature during the survey.

Staff also conducted interviews with miners outside the park, who also reported sightings of 7 large false gharials in the surrounding area. More research will be conducted on why these crocodiles are living in areas of human disturbance such as this, but it is likely a result of a higher abundance of food.

Alongside recent research on individual species of wildlife, we also have a number of camera traps placed around Pondok Ambung in order to monitor the biodiversity of the surrounding forest. Watch this short clip to see some of the species we’ve managed to capture on film:

All this data provides important insights into the biodiversity which exists within the area we protect. It is vital we learn as much as we can in order to help protect and raise awareness of the important role each species plays in the rainforest ecosystem.

This is why the Orangutan Foundation takes part in events like Rainforest: Live, joining a global movement to spread the word and encourage action to protect the incredible biodiversity that exists within tropical forest habitat.

Follow us today on social media, using the hashtag #RainforestLive!

Rainforest: Live 2017

This year we again take part in Rainforest: Live, a global social media event set up by Borneo Nature Foundation, with more than 50 organisations taking part.

Organisations will share a glimpse of rainforest life on social media to inspire people to take action and help protect these critical habitats.

WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR: Rare and wonderful wildlife sightings direct from rainforests all around the world! Here's a clip we posted last year to give you a taste of what is to come:

 

You can learn more about the event here.

Rainforests once covered as much as 12% of the earth's landmass. They now only cover 5%, largely a result of human activity. Help us to protect the world's remaining rainforests, estimated to be home to as much as half of all species of flora and fauna found on earth, including the magnificent orangutan.

Join us tomorrow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest and please show your support for rainforest conservation by getting involved – follow the hashtag #RainforestLive and share, like, retweet and comment!

The Orangutan Foundation's 5 Programmes in Indonesian Borneo

Watch this short video to learn about our 5 ongoing programmes in Indonesian Borneo:

Please help us ensure a future for orangutans, forests and people. To support our work with a donation, please click here.

Thank you.

Fish lend a helpping... fin!

Fish are helping both the orangutans and Orangutan Foundations work...Only when we know what ’s there can we monitor what's happening to it. Now the focus is on the life-giving Sekonyer river in Tanjung Puting...

Gold mine run off pollution in the Sekonyer River. The health of the fish depends on the quality of the water.

Gliding through the waters of the Sekonyer River, one of the natural borders of Tanjung Puting National Park, many a traveller with the Orangutan Foundation has been entertained with stories of what lurks beneath their boat. But it’s not just the crocodiles that deserve our attention. One of the three research grants given by the Foundation and the national park in 2012 funded an investigation into the variety of fish species in the Sekonyer and one of its tributaries, the Sekonyer Kanan. Despite being part of the same river, the water conditions offer a strong contrast. The main Sekonyer suffers from pollution from an illegal gold mine in the park, visible even to the untrained eye in its far muddier, more opaque colour. From the six sampling sites, three in each section of the river, 42 species were identified, through body shape, length and height, the type and colour pattern of the scales and the shape of the fin and tailfin. Sketches were made of each fish and compared to those in guide books or previous research. Such research allows us to see the effect of water conditions on the fish – and therefore on the river ecosystem, which in turn affects the park itself.

Additionally, the education and outreach has been expanded and further contributes to capacity building via the fish ponds, built at Kampung Konservasi...
Aquaponic Demonstration Plot

These are the 'patin' fish that are very good to it.

The Foundation has always committed to ongoing community development. As part of this, Yayorin (Indonesian NGO and longer time partners of the Foundation) decided to develop an aquaponic demonstration plot on Kampung Konservasi’s conservation village. Aquaponics by definition is the combination of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics.

The making of the fish pond using sand sacks

 

Since the construction, the ponds have been improved with bamboo guttering. The ponds have a high capacity to sustain a medium sized population grew well.

the finished fish pond complete with filtration system

The main reason Yayorin did this was because there was quite a large area of peat swamp behind Kampung Konservasi - so the ponds seemed like a very good idea. Rice and vegetables wouldn't grow in that type of soil...

"As we already had two fish ponds, we thought an aquaponic demonstration plot was an ideal new development. The water that the fish live in becomes very rich in nutrients. It is then pumped from the fish pond into an organic bed, where plants growing extract the nutrients from the water. The water then drains back into the fish pond cleaned of excess nutrients and freshly oxygenated. It was a new concept of agriculture and would be something very interesting to try." Says Eddy , Yayorin staff.

the staff collecting the proportion of the population to be sold at market

This is where the filtration occurs

Children learning about the fish crop

From this, people are learning and later adopting these techniques on their own land. On average so far, 15 groups or individuals have taken the lessons learnt and put them into (continuing!) practice in their respective locations. The facilities at Yayorin now have a fantastic reputation within the local and surrounding communities. How amazing that fish , with a little hard work, can provide such a helping 'hand'.

 

What is Kampung Konservasi and why did we fund them?


Education continues to be highly important to Orangutan Foundation which is why we are exceptionally proud to be supporting an innovative project that appeals to both children and adults on the outskirts of Pangkalan Bun. Here, Yayorin (our long term Indonesian partners) have established their Conservation Village or Kampung Konservasi, a large, dynamic environmental education complex. There is a covered outdoor learning centre (made from coconut trees), alternative agricultural demonstration plots, fish ponds, a nursery, medicinal plant garden, a small children’s camping ground and composting facility.

The fantastic news is that having funded Kampung Konservasi from it's inception in 2006, through to 2012, the project is now sustainable. Funding the Foundation receives can go on to develop Yayorin's work based outside of Kampung Konservasi. This sustainability shows how much the local communities needed and now highly value Yoyorin's resources and outreach.

Yayorin run three integrated programmes based around Kampung Konservasi: Conservation Education, Alternative Agriculture and Sustainable Fish Farming. The Conservation Education Programme incorporates the library, puppet shows, theatre, field trips, school partnerships and extra curricular activities. There have been many visits from local schools where they grasp concepts such as rubbish recycling and they are encouraged to decorate the theatre with “hope leaves” with well wishes to the surrounding environment.

The Alternative Agriculture programme has introduced concepts such as basic agriculture using the demonstration plots reflecting Yayorin’s commitment to finding alternatives to current traditional farming methods which are still essentially based around slash and burn agriculture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small-scale vegetable production (their tomatoes have proved incredibly popular!) and full-scale sustainable agriculture have been developed. There is also an Aquaponic Demonstration Plot introduced following a visit to a Sumatran NGO project. Two fishponds pump nutrient-rich fish water from the fishponds into an organic plant bed where plants/vegetables extract the nutrients from the water. Then the water, cleared from excessive nutrients and freshly oxygenated, drains back into the fishpond. Some claimed fish could not be farmed in acidic peat-swamp water, however, these fish are growing fast. As Kampung Konservasi’s manager, Sally Tirtadihardja, says, “One of our biggest successes has been proving people wrong!”

Funded by various groups, Kampung Konservasi support the implementation of educational activities and facilitate the provision of learning activities and the environment and sustainable agriculture. In the period from January to May 2012, Kampung Konservasi created strategies to optimize the learning environment as an arena so that more people receive the benefits of this project. Relationships with local universities in  Pangkalan Bun, a forum and invite students from schools assisted or not to discuss and address many areas of conservation, to enable more regular classes with a fresh approach to learning methods, as a speaker at one of the agencies local government, as in activities of the cadre West Kotawaringin Environment Body and Adiwiyata School (School-based environment) held West Kotawaringin Environment Body.

We can't wait to hear what Yayorin get up to next at Kampung Konservasi !

 

A big thank you!

We are delighted to announce that we have met our Big Give target of £15,000. Thank you to everyone who donated so swiftly this morning - once again, we are overwhelmed by the response and generosity of our supporters. Our Habitat Protection Project will support the running of our guard posts and patrols in two areas of critical orangutan habitat -Tanjung Puting National Park and Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve in Indonesian Borneo. These are ongoing costs but ones the we have to meet. If forests aren't safe, neither are orangutans.

If you didn't have a chance to donate this morning but would still like to then please donate via our website (click here to donate).

A big thank you from everybody at Orangutan Foundation

Orangutan Adoption Diary -Brian’s future is looking Rosy

Brian Diary, October 27th 2009 by Hudi WD I am pleased to tell you that the adoption process between the female Bornean orangutan, Rosa and the infant orangutan, Brian is going very well.

 Orangutan Adoption - Rosa and Brian

Brian was confiscated from an oil palm plantation and was taken to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve where he was introduced to adult female orangutan Rosa (see post A Wild Life). Rosa immediately took to Brian, but Brian was a little bit nervous with the whole process.

Now Brian is looking healthy, really cool and smart! He is very active to move and play inside the adoption cage (Rosa and Brian are in cage just temporarily to help the adoption process).

 Orangutans Adoption -Rosa and Brian

Some times Brian is swinging in the cage and sometimes he reaches to Rosa if he needs attention from her.

 orangutan adoption 2 - Rosa and Brian

Tigor (the Lamandau Orangutan Reintroduction Manager) said Brian has the real “wild instinct” and he will grow to be a leader. Brian has started to become closer to Rosa and this was shown when Utang (staff from Camp Siswoyo) tried to hold Rosa's hand, Brian moved and tried to pull Rosa's hand away. 

Orangutan adoption - Rosa and Brian

He has also started to imitate Rosa's behaviour. He is very smart and really funny when he moved and copied just like Rosa did.

orangutan adoption - Rosa and Brian interaction 

Dr Fiqri (the Lamandau Orangutan Reintroduction Vet) said the adoption process was in good progress and in approximately 10 to 15 days he hopes Rosa and Brian will be returned to Camp Gemini and living free out of the cage, we hope it will be done as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Hudi WD

Programme Co-ordinator -Orangutan Foundation

Promoting Forests at Sukamara Fair, Indonesian Borneo

From the 17th to 24th October 2009, our EC-Lamandau Programme, together with the Environment Office of Sukamara (town on the Western side of Lamandau reserve), has been participating in the Sukamara Fair 2009. Our EC-Lamandau exhibition booth really stood out. It was a cheerful display with a drawing and coloring competition for children from the ages of 5 to 11 years old. 

 Children at Sukamara Fair

Children joining in at the EC-Lamandau stand at the Sukamara Fair

We had an enthusiastic response when the orangutan and deer mascots suddenly arrived. Both mascots told stories about their life in the forest and a lively conversation arose between the mascots and the visitors, including kids! At least 600 stickers and 200 Sumpitan bulletins (local magazine published by Yayorin) were distributed to exhibition visitors and for three evenings, films on conservation education were screened.

The progamme, also called the Lamandau Ecosystem Conservation Partnership (LECP) is funded by the European Commission to maintain functioning tropical forest ecosystems in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, which support sustainable rural development. The Partnership comprises the Conservation of Nature Resources Agency of Central Borneo (BKSDA), Yayorin and the Orangutan Foundation. 

  Hope Leaves  - Sukamara Fair 

 Leaves of Hope writen by exhibition visitors

The Head of Sukamara Regency, Ahmad Dirman listened to a brief explanation about our forest protection and community outreach work that has been implemented by Orangutan Foundation and Yayorin. He also wrote on a ‘leaf of hope’ which was hung on a branch in the exhibition.

Sukamara fair

 Ahmad Dirman encouraged the people of Sukamara to support any institutions that work on forest and environment conservation. He proudly accepted a framed orangutan photo (by Brian Matthews who was awarded highly commended in BBC wildlife photographer of the year 2009) brought from London by Ashley Leiman, the Orangutan Foundation Director. 

Thank you for your interest,

Astri - Liaison Officer

Fighting Wild Fires

This is what June (Orangutan Foundation Programmes Manager) reported yesterday. The fires are about four hours from Camp Buluh, an orangutan release camp in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve and they are about 10 hectares wide. Currently there are 12 “Manggala Agni” (Forest Fire Prevention Brigade) fighting the fires since they were reported on Thursday night. There are also three teams assisting from our EC-Lamandau Programme and Pak Jakir, Patrol Manager has also been with them since Friday. They are currently using three machines to draw out water from the river to put out the fires.

Today, June is in Lamandau with the fire-fighting teams and so hopefully we’ll receive an update on the situation when she returns.

Thank you Gerhard R, Helen N, Jenny O, Brigitta S, Tal B and Matthew K for your recent donations – your support is much appreciated.

Thanks,

Cathy

Sebangau Forest Fires Threaten Wild Orangutans

Some images sent through from Dr Suwido Limin, Director of CIMTROP, Centre for International Cooperation in the Management of Tropical Peatland. The work that Dr Suwido and his team are undertaking is very dangerous and Suwido has to provide insurance for his team (also expensive and not easy to get). His men are working away from roads and operate 24 hours a day transporting heavy equipment manually or by motor cycle to where it is needed. It is even more dangerous in the dark. As Dr.Suwido Limin reports, this is a hazardous job. “Peat fires are unique as they spread below the surface, on average 20-30cm below ground but sometimes as deep as 60cm, which makes fighting them both dangerous and unpredictable. You can put out fire in one place and then flames suddenly shoot up behind you.” Orangutan Foundation sent out £3,000 to CIMTROP last week. Thank you to Mara, of Hong Kong based Orangutan Aid, for your offer to donate US$200 and to thank you to Orangutan Foundation ambassador and member, Helen who donated £70 towards tackling the fires through Give As You Earn.  We will keep you updated this situation.

Sebangau Forest Fires

CIMTROP team tackling the fires. Photo by CIMTROP

Fire Fighting Sebangau

Fires at Sebangau Forest, Central Kalimantan. Photo by CIMTROP

Using motorbikes to carry equipment to fires -CIMTROP

Motorbikes are needed to carry equipment and access the fires. Photo by CIMTROP

Sebangau Fires 

Photo by CIMTROP 

For more information read the press release below.

PRESS RELEASE. RAGING FOREST FIRES THREATEN WILD ORANGUTANS IN BORNEO 

Forest fires are breaking out in the Sabangau peat-swamp forests in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, threatening the lives of the estimated 8,000 wild orangutans living here.  This is exceptionally worrying during times of extreme drought caused by El Niño. This year Borneo is once again firmly in the grip of such a drought. During previous El Niño years several hundred thousand hectares of primary rainforest burnt in this area, destroying the habitat of thousands of orangutans and other endangered plants and wildlife. According to Dr. Suwido Limin, Director of the Indonesian peatland conservation organisation CIMTROP, management of the forest by forestry companies over the last forty years has led to the loss of forest rights for local people. In order to restore the local community’s engagement with the forest, these rights need to be returned.

Dr. Limin has witnessed out of contol fires many times before and is concerned that 2009 will see a repeat. He has spent the last twenty years studying and protecting this unique ecosystem and knows very well the risks involved. “These fires have started as a result of human actions; newcomers to the area have attempted to follow traditional Dayak farming methods for land clearance but they lack the experience to control the fires they start. When peat dries out it burns very easily and at great temperatures. Once these fires take hold, they burn and burn and can be almost impossible to put out until the rains come again. In that time huge areas of forest and irreplaceable peat deposits may be lost”.

Peatland fires are not only a major threat to the natural environment and the many species that live here but also to the health of the local population due to smoke inhalation. Nationally, huge clouds of smoke are blacking out the sun, affecting air and sea traffic and potentially causing millions of dollars of lost revenue. On a global scale, they are one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute significantly to rising global temperatures and hence climate change.

To try and prevent this happening, CIMTROP run a rapid-response fire-fighting team (locally known as the Tim Serbu Api, or TSA) to tackle fires as soon as they are reported and before they get out of control. The team monitors an area of 100,000 hectares and is made up of local people who have received training and equipment from CIMTROP and are ready to be called upon when fires break out. But, as Dr. Limin reports, this is a hazardous job. “Peat fires are unique as they spread below the surface, on average 20-30cm below ground but sometimes as deep as 60cm, which makes fighting them both dangerous and unpredictable. You can put out fire in one place and then flames suddenly shoot up behind you.”

One fire hotspot is Kalampangan which borders both the NLPSF (the Natural Laboratory for Peat Swamp Forest), an international research site established by CIMTROP, and Sabangau National Park – home to the world’s largest orang-utan population. CIMTROP’s fire-fighting team have been battling fires in Kalampangan non-stop for the past ten days and will continue to monitor the fires until the rains come. Local residents report the fire took hold incredibly quickly, raging through the tinder-dry vegetation, decimating all in its path and burning down into the peat. Here orangutan sleeping nests can be seen in trees shrouded in smoke and rhinoceros hornbills fly through the haze overhead. On the ground, the TSA create fire breaks and pump water from nearby canals and bore-holes onto the fires. Bore-holes often need to be twenty meters or more deep to access sufficient water to tackle the fire, taking up to six hours and teams of three or four trained workers to dig. Extinguishing just one square metre of burning peat takes two to three hundred litres of water.

Alim, a long-term TSA team member, is enthusiastic to talk about their work and what they need. “We use water pumps and special fire-fighting hose to carry water from the water bores and canals to the burning areas. At the moment, we have twenty TSA rapid-response fire suppression team members, all fully trained specialists in fighting peat fires. They work alongside ten more people split between the River Patrol Team (Tim Patroli), which carry out daily patrols along the boundary of the NLPSF using the Sabangau river, and the TSA Ground Patrol Unit who use motorbikes to monitor the forest from the land. All our teams keep in contact with each other using two-way radios. Of course, it would be great if we could have more equipment so we can cover more ground. Ideally, I would like sixty permanent TSA members so we can set up more fire-fighting points working simultaneously in this fire hotspot while also allowing the team to get some rest! We need more water pumps, lots more hose and permanent bore-hole sites so we can channel water to burning areas more easily. Unfortunately, one of our patrol bikes was destroyed in the Kalampangan fire making patrolling much harder.”

Dr. Limin is proud of his team and their dedication in such difficult conditions. In 2006 they battled successfully for five months to save an area of pristine forest, and he expects a similar commitment this time around. But he echoes Alim’s calls for more equipment and personnel. “It is difficult to maintain funding for the TSA over the long-term because major fires occur maybe once every three or four years. We need to have the capacity to guarantee income and operational costs for the TSA and Tim Patroli and have funds permanently available for immediate use when fire hits. Disasters do not wait while mitigation strategies are discussed and put in place; they hit hard and fast, with little warning. We rely on donations, and are very grateful for the financial support we receive, but at the moment we simply don’t have the resources we need to tackle all the fires that are starting.”

Lamandau’s orangutans -a healthy growing population!

Thanks for your recent questions and sorry for the slow reponse! News straight from the field is that Lady Di is healthy and is well enough to be released this Saturday!  I visited her last week and took these pictures.

Bornean Female Orangutan -Lady Di and baby

Borneo female orangutan -Lady Di and infant (photo:Orangutan Foundation) 

Bornean Female Orangutan 

Dr Fikri and the camp staff have taken really good care of Lady Di and while she has had to spend nights in a cage so that she doesn't go off and cause further damage to herself, the staff let her out during the day and they keep a close watch on her! 

Regarding who is the father of Sawit's offspring. We know that it's a wild male, but he doesn't stay around camp. Dr Fiqri is delighted to report that Sawit has given birth to a healthy baby girl (Sawit was more pregnant than we suspected!). Our Field Assistants are looking for name suggestions for Sawit's new infant. It has to start with S and to be Indonesian. Please leave suggestions as a comments.

Thanks,

June

Programmes Manager

Protecting Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve’s Buffer Zone

Lamandau Ecosystem Conservation Partnership (LECP) recently helped facilitate meetings in order to increase protection to the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve Buffer Zone Area.   Meeting of BKSDA and oil palm company

 Meeting between government and oil-palm companies faciliated by Lamandau Ecosystem Conservation Partnership (funded by the EU).

Finally, on July 13 2009, the Indonesian Government Agency for the Conservation of Natural Resources of Central Borneo (BKSDA) and two oil palm plantation companies, which have their plantation area close to or on the border of Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve area, signed the Memorandum of Understanding and Memorandum of Agreement, witnessed by Kotawaringin Barat and Sukamara District Government. The two companies are Sungai Rangit, Co. Ltd. and Bumitama Gunajaya Abadi, (BGA) Co. Ltd. 

According to Chief of BKSDA of Central Borneo, Mr. Mega Hariyanto, the memorandum is  the first Memorandum of Understanding in Indonesia on a conservation area’s buffer zone, that has been established by government and private sector.

signing MOU buffer zone 

The companies, BGA and Sungai Rangit, are willing not to plant and do any business activities within a radius of 500 meters outside of Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve buffer area. This is also very important as the reserve is a government designated orangutan release site. 

Below is a translated quotation from a local newspaper, Borneonews, on the memorandum assignation:  

BKSDA and Company made MoU on Conservation of Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve Thursday, July 23, 2009 |

'Borneo News Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve which is situated at Kotawaringin Barat, Central Borneo is a conservation area which needs a protection. Related to its conservation, the management of Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve under coordination of the Indonesian Government Agency for the Conservation of Natural Resources has made a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two companies which operated side by side with Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.  Namely, Bumitama Guna Jaya Abadi (BGA), Co. Ltd which is situated at Kotawaringin Barat and Sungai Rangit, Co. Ltd. which is situated at Sukamara District are the two companies.  There are six important points that concluded within the agreement. Which are: BGA and Sungai Rangit are prohibited to do land clearing for plantation or any purposes in surrounding Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve.  BGA and Sungai Rangit is willing not to plant and doing any business activities within radius of 500 meters outside of Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve buffer area.  Both BGA and Sungai Rangit have to cooperate and accompanied by BKSDA to prevent forest fire in surrounding Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve. BGA and Sungai Rangit are obligated to make a report to BKSDA on the existence of orangutan and other protected wildlife if they were entering in plantation area.  BGA and Sungai Rangit also support BKSDA of Central Borneo socialization activity to community, and both companies should report to BKSDA of Central Borneo if there are any indication of illegal activity arround of Lamandau Wildlife Reserve appears.  Chief of BKSDA of Central Borneo Mega Harianto explained that one of reason to establish the agreement is issue on emission reduction caused by global warming that will harm environment.  "This understanding and agreement is an initial point in building socialization on environment awareness surrounding Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve and both companies" Mega said.  Continued by Mega, the agreement is necessary established since management of Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve has been doing more effort to handle problems within its area, compared to manage Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve natural resources it self.  

In the other side, Second Assistance Regional Secretary of Kotawaringin Barat Regency, M. Sayrifudin emphasized that rules on area are necessary built by government at province or higher level in order to keep Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve from residence.'

Thank you,

Astri

Orangutan Foundation Liaison Office

Reforesting Orangutan Wildlife Reserve

Recently I accompanied a logistic run to one of our guard posts, Pos Danau Burung (or Bird Lake Guard Post - where the the recent fires were), in the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve. Logistics run to guard post

Getting supplies to Pos Danau Burung

We also had a surprise for them - lots of cake, from our previous meeting with government officials at nearby town of Sukamara. They were very happy with the impromptu tea!

Plant Nursery at Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

Post Danau Burung also happens to be one of our plant nurseries for reforestation at the Reserve. Our Reforestation Manager, Pak Isem, recently bought more seedlings from local villagers, totalling to about 20 different indigenous species of plants, including fruiting trees that will eventually help feed the orangutans and other wildlife in Lamandau.

Nursery Lamandau Wildlife Reserve

As you can see from the photos, the seedlings are doing very well. Currently, we are waiting for the wet season so we can plant these seedlings.

As well, we do need your support to help run our various programmes in Lamandau. With only US$15, you ensure that our field assistants are well-equipped. A donation of US$30 strengthens morale in our camps, with staff uniforms. Take a look at our donation box, and see what you would like to support! Thank you very much Matthew K, Brigitta S and Tal B for your monthly donations.

Thank you,

June

Kampung Konservasi January Blog - Sustainable livelihoods for communities living close to areas of orangutan habitat.

FISH HARVEST One of the alternative income-generating activities that Kampung Konservasi offers the local communities is low-impact fish farming. On Kampung Konservasi ground, we have three very simple fish ponds, which are – literally – just “big holes” on the ground.

Fishpond - Kampung Konservasi

Fishpond 2 - Kampung Konservasi

Fishpond 3 - Kampung Konservasi

The three different styles of simple fishponds demonstrated by Kampung Konservasi.

Because our ground is naturally “wet” (mostly peat swamp), we do not have to do much to regulate the water flows. We just worked with the land contour and designed our ponds so that they are as low maintenance as possible. This way, local farmers can easily duplicate our methods and feel interested to try because it does not require much commitment from their part. To fortify the walls, we used simple materials such as bamboos, sand bags and polybags filled with vegetable seedlings.

We then put two species of fish in our ponds: one is nila, a consumption fish species that originally came from Africa but has become very common all over the world; another one is patin, a local Kalimantan species that has also become a very common consumption fish species. Both have been doing very well in our ponds, although our patin grow a little better and faster in semi-peat swamp water.

Fish harvesting

Encouraging community participation and the uptake of this low-impact fish farming.

Patin - common species of fish found in Kalimantan.

Patin - common species of fish found in Kalimantan, Borneo

Just recently Kampung Konservasi decided to empty its fish ponds because we wanted to fix the walls. We did not expect that there will be so much fish! In only this one harvest, we managed to sell 56 kilograms of fish to the local housewives and restaurants. In 2008 alone, our alternative fish farm produced more than 200 kilograms of fish and sold well in the local market. Once again, Kampung Konservasi have proven to the local communities that fish farming is another potential income-generating activity for this area.

Thanks,

Sally (Yayorin)